Tour of Tasmania Newsletter No 3.
Welcome to the February March Rally newsletter. Our Riley Tour of Tasmania is just over 12 months away and we are desperately hoping that 2023 will be less aﬀected by COVID than the past couple of years. It has been a difficult time for our fellow Rally Committees in NSW & WA and attendees with the uncertainty, the postponement of the Broken Hill Rally from 2020 to 2021 and now the postponement of the Margaret River Rally from 2022 to a date yet to be determined. Let’s hope 2023 can go soothly and we can enjoy the WA Rally in the near future.
Our Rally Committee is close to finalizing venues and information required for the bookings to open in early April. This is when the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry bookings open for March 2023. Accommodation is being reserved in the 3 towns where we will spend the 9 nights in Tasmania. Hobart & Launceston have larger venues that can accommodate us in one or two premises. In Swansea, we will be spread across a number of smaller venues. Accommodation includes: rooms for 1-3 people, cabins/villas for 2-4 people, and some houses for 4+ are available if a group wants to share accommodation. Breakfast options include; venue supplied, self-catering or local eateries. There will be a number of opportunities for Group Activities including the usual Welcome & Presentation Dinners, a mid-tour dinner, a BBQ at the local car club rooms in Hobart and a Farewell breakfast in Geelong. Also some group attractions. We will be applying for a grant from Events Tasmania when they open in July 2022 and this grant will be used to pay for some activities on your behalf. There will also be discounted prices at a number of attractions should you choose to go to these.
Our time in Tassie will include 4 “travel days” moving to our next accommodation;
Devonport to Hobart, Hobart to Swansea, Swansea to Launceston and Launceston back to Devonport. There is much to see and do at each town, more than we can squeeze into our short stay so hopefully there will be something for all tastes. Over the next 12 months these newsletters will provide a sample of things to do and see in each town, to give you a feel for what might interest you. Historical Buildings, gourmet food, wineries, antiques shops and bric-a-brac can be found all over Tasmania.
This issue we will look at Hobart, but first a few “Tassie Facts”.
Tasmania is the 26th largest island in the World at approximately 6.8 million hectares, of which 3.3 million hectares is forested. It is about the same size as Ireland and is surrounded by 1000 islands. the population is about 550,000/ The Greater Hobart area has about 250,000, Greater Launceston 110,00 and Greater Devonport 30,000.
The most mountainous region is the Central Highlands area (Day 1 drive). Many rivers begin in the Central Highlands and flow out to the coast. Several of Tasmania’s largest rivers have been dammed at some point to provide hydroelectricity. Tasmania has a number of waterfalls, the most visited is Russell Falls in Mount Field National Park, a stepped falls at a total height of 58 metres. Tasmania also has a large number of beaches; Wineglass Bay in Freycinet Park near Swansea is well-known.
Traditionally, Tasmania’s main Industries have been mining ( including copper, zinc, tin and iron), agriculture, forestry and tourism. The 1960’s & 1970’s saw a decline in traditional crops of apples and pears, with other crops and industries eventually rising in their place. During the last 25 years, new agricultural products such as wine, saﬀron, pyrethrum and cherries have been developed. Hobart is the state capital. It has lots of one-way streets and not much flat ground.
During our 3 days in Hobart you can; see the sights in and around Hobart, take a drive to the Tasman Peninsula (Port Arthur), head south through the Huon Valley, or head west up the Derwent Valley to New Norfolk and beyond. Let us take a sneak preview of what is on oﬀer around Hobart.
National Trust Buildings (info on Booking form)
Beautifully preserved 1840 whaling captain’s house and gardens. The largely intact 19th century family home named after Capt.Charles Bayley’s favourite ship, Runnymede
Hobart Convict Penitentiary ( National Trust)
Underground Tunnels. Chapel. Solitary Cell Gallows. Uncover the hidden secrets of this internationally significant convict site located right in the heart of Hobart CBD. May be a ghost tour is up your alley.
Cascades Female Factory Site
World Heritage Convict site. From 1828 to 1856, operated as an institution intended to reform female convicts, some as young as 11. More than 5000 female convicts are known to have spent time here.
The Shot Tower Historic Site, Tours,
Museum, Gardens Open10am to 5pm. Climb the world’s tallest circular sandstone tower for beautiful 360o views. Enter the old Shot Tower Factory to visit the History Museum, gift Shop and Tower entrance or go down stairs to the old-world Tearoom a Gallery for a Devonshire Tea on fine china. You may sit inside in The Tower Tearoom or outside in The Courtyard Garden dining area. Wander around the heritage ‘mini castle like’ Tower Residence and various beautiful gardens.
The Battery Point Walks: Various history trails to follow in one of Hobart’s oldest suburbs.
Maritime Museum: houses Tasmania’s largest &most varied collection of maritime artefacts. Only a fraction of the collection can be displayed at any one time and the museum presents a regular series of temporary exhibitions exploring different maritime themes.
Mawson Hut Replica, offers a fascinating look at the living conditions of Australia’s intrepid early Antarctic explorers. Heritage architects and builders painstakingly replicated the original snow-covered huts in Antarctic used on the 1911 to 1914 expedition led by Douglas Mawson, which departed mere steps from this museum.
Narryna Merchant House, an 1830s merchant’s house and collection that tells the story of early colonial life in Hobart. The fine Georgian town house was built by seafarer, Captain Andrew Haig who built warehouses facing Salamanca Place in 1834. Narryna has had an adventurous life as a home to large families, boarding house, hospital and museum.
Markree House Museum and Garden, an intimate house museum and garden is one of Hobart’s hidden treasures. Markree was built in 1926 for Cecil and Ruth Baldwin. The house, collection and garden all reflect the influence of the Arts & Craft Movement. Its 1920s Tasmanian oak and blackwood furniture is by local cabinetmakers Coogan and Vallance & Co
MONA Museum of Old and New Art .
This provocative private collection of modern art and antiquities is housed underground and offers interactive interpretation through portable touch screen devices. A high-speed catamarans sails between Hobart’s Brooke Street Pier and Mona often, and take around 25 minutes one way. There are 99 steps upon arrival at the wharf.
Tasmanian Museums & Art Galley,
(TMAG) is Tasmania’s leading natural and cultural heritage organisation. it is a combined museum, art gallery and herbarium which safe-guards the physical evidence of Tasmania’s natural and cultural heritage and cultural identity of Tasmanians.
Attend a performance at The Royal Theatre.
Designed by John Lee Archer, it is an architectural jewel. The foundation stone was laid in 1834, , making it the oldest theatre in Australia. It has an impressive Neoclassical façade and charming multi-tiered interior.
At the summit of Kunanyi/Mount Wellington (1270m) the Pinnacle has great views and extremes of weather! lookouts and observation decks provide vistas over Hobart and towards the east coast, and to the west over the World Heritage Area of southern Tasmania.
Mount Nelsons Signal Stations and Lookout,
just a 10-minute drive (5km) south of Hobart is a outlook and the location of a colonial signal station, which was built in 1811 and was the first of a chain of signal stations that once linked Hobart Town with Port Arthur. A short message from Hobart to Port Arthur and return reply could be completed in approximately fifteen minutes – under clear conditions
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
Australia’s second-oldest established in 1818. Approx. 34.6 acres, located within the Queens Domain. Home to the largest collection of mature conifers in the Southern hemisphere and has the only subantarctic plant house in the world. Plant from subantarctic islands, in high southern latitudes are displayed in climatic-controlled environment, where chilly fogs and mists mirror the wet, cold conditions of their island homes.
Saturday and Sunday 11-5pm. Step inside Australia’s oldest operating brewery, nestled at the foot of the majestic Mount Welling. Cascade has been crating beer since 1832. You can take a tour or just relax and enjoy Cascade beers and Mercury ciders, savour a delicious lunch and wander in the three acres of heritage gardens. Tour includes beer tasting approx. 75mins.
Salamanca Place and Market
(Market from 8.30 am to 3 pm). One of Australia’s most vibrant and loved outdoor markets is located at historic Salamanca Place, next to the Hobart waterfront. With over 300 stallholder including artisans, designers, fresh produce from local growers, hot coﬀee and delicious food options, lot of gift ideas and plenty of handmade products. It’s an experience that’s hard to beat.
Constitution Dock. Walk around the Dock, view the boats moored, admire the historic building, take part in the tradition of fish and chips on the wharf from one of the floating boat shops.
Antarctic Base Tasmania .
Hobart serves as Australia’s chief sea link to Antarctica, with the Australian Antarctic Division located at Kingston. Hobart is also the home port of the French ship l’Astrolabe, which makes regular supply runs to the French Southern Territories near and in Antarctica.
Tasman Peninsula and Port Arthur Historic Site, (Full Day Trip)
World Heritage listed Port Arthur Historic Site is the best preserved convict site in Australia, and among the most significant convict era sites worldwide. Entry fee includes; interactive exhibitions /displays telling the story of the site and its people, a guided Introductory Walking Tour, 20-minute Harbour Cruise, access to more than 30 historic buildings, ruins, restored houses, heritage gardens and walking trails.
Eaglehawk Neck. The thin strip of land known as the Neck connects the Tasman Peninsula to the Forestier peninsular. It’s about 400metres long and less than 30 metres wide at one point. This narrow entrance to the Tasman Peninsula was once guarded by the dog line, a line of dogs chained together to prevent convicts from escaping the notorious prison settlement. Many tried to escape, some succeeded and, there’s now a sculpture to mark this once brutal barricade. There are also shipwreck sites but there’s much more to this place than its dark and dangerous past. The Neck is also a natural geological wonder with striking rock formation like the Tessellated pavement, Tasman’s Arch, Blowhole and devil’s Kitchen.
The Coal Mines Historic Site
a 25 minutes’ drive from Port Arthur, near Saltwater River on the north west tip of the Tasman Peninsula is an outstanding example of the 19th century European global strategy of using the forced labour of convicts. Illustrating the importance of labour and production, classification, punishment and surveillance in the penal system and the role of the convict in the establishment of colonial economies.
Huon Valley. (Full Day Trip)
Heading south through forested areas, over the mountain range and down into the apple grow-ing area of the Huon Valley. South of Huonville is the town of Franklin with Cafes, interesting shops and of course the Wooden Boat Centre, an interesting visit for Riley Owners.
Further south is the timber town of Geeveston where the Visitor Centre tells the story of this town’s timber heritage. 40 mins to the west is the Tahune Airwalk, -walk amongst the tree tops and the 50-metre-high cantilever section oﬀers spectacular views of the Huon and Picton Rivers and beyond to distant peaks.
If heights are not your thing, 50 kms south of Geeveston is Hasting, the only place in Tasmania where you can relax & bathe in a 28 deg thermal spring fed pool, or if you’re feeling energetic the Newdegate Cave Tour takes about 45mins and has 500 steps. This is the largest tourist cave in Australia.
On the return journey, head east at Huonville to the eclectic town of Cygnet, lined with crafts shops, gallies and music studios. Woodbridge (known for its fine produce) and Kettering (Ferry terminal for Bruny Island are on the coast of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.
With water views on one side and rolling hills and mall farms on the other, the area produces a bounty of apples and stone fruit varieties The Channel, as the locals call it, is also well known for Atlantic Salmon farms which can be visited on a selection of cruises.
Heading north toward Hobart visit the Margate Train. The restored railway carriages, open daily, house a range of businesses including arts and crafts, bric-a-brac, a specialist book exchange, a pancake restaurant, and the original buﬀet car is now a cafe. There is also a huge antique warehouse and second-hand shop here, located in an old IXL apple packing shed.
Return to Hobart via the coastal road through Bonnet Hill, Taroona (past The Shot Tower 1870) and through Sandy Bay.
Derwent Valley ( Full Day Trip)
Another river valley drive to the north -west. New Norfolk, is the major town in this valley, with a rich history, quality produce and pretty rural scenery. The town is the third oldest settlement in Tasmania, established by evacuees relocated from Norfolk Island after the island prison was abandoned in 1807. Early buildings found in the town including one of Australia’s oldest pubs and Australia’s oldest Anglican church, St Matthews. It also has one of Australia’s few traditions village squares. It has a rich hop-growing past and now the New Norfolk Distillery creates modern high-quality rum for rebellious spirits to share. The Drill Hall Emporium is a must visit antiques store. A stunning mix of antique furniture, utilitarian household objects and decorator pieces in a form army drill hall
The Salmon Ponds at Plenty is where the first brown and rainbow trout in the southern hemisphere were raised in 1864, brought by ship from England. The ponds, hatchery, museum, café and gardens are a must visit when heading up the Derwent Valley.
Mt Field National Park is Tasmania’s first national park, with stunning vistas, great walks, abundant wildlife and excellent visitors facilities.
Russell Falls on Australia’s first stamp. It’s a short, wheelchair accessible journey from the visitor centre, through enormous fern forests and some of the world’s tallest trees. (National Parks Pass Info on booking form)
Hamilton is a small rural farming town with historic buildings throughout the town and surrounding farmland. Visit Prospect Villa and Garden, with its early Georgian sandstone home and a garden consisting of a series of romantic garden ‘rooms’ abundantly planted and set in a classic design with long vistas through the garden to focal points and panoramic views.
Gretna a tiny locality on the north side of Derwent River with a real local country pub, war memorial and church.
Next Issue: Swansea and Bruny Island south of Hobart (for which we ran out of room this issue)